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'Rs 1000 cr will go into CPM's pocket'

'Rs 1000 cr will go into CPM's pocket'

Author: Ravik Bhattacharya
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: July 07, 2009
URL: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/rs-1000-cr-will-go-into-cpms-pocket/485889/0

The budgetary grant of Rs 1,000 crore by Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to the state government for relief and reconstruction of the Aila-devastated areas of Sunderbans has left the Congress ally Trinamool unhappy.

Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee has been exerting pressure on the Centre against granting funds to the state claiming these would be misused by the LF government.

"Cyclone Aila caused extensive damage to roads, houses and infrastructure in Benga. While interim relief has been provided from the Calamity Relief Fund (CRF), it is proposed to draw up a programme for rebuilding the damaged infrastructure. For this purpose, I propose to allocate Rs 1,000 crore," Mukherjee said in his Budget speech.

Sisir Adhikary, Trinamool MP and MoS for Rural development, said: "The Budget was fine, but we are unhappy with the Rs 1,000 crore given to the CPM government. Now this money will go into the CPM's pocket and will not reach the needy."

"Already the state government claimed to have spent

Rs 480 crore in Aila-affected areas, but failed to give utilisation certificates. This Rs 1,000 crore will be completely wasted," added Adhikary.

The issue of fund allocation for relief and rehabilitation of the Aila-devastated areas has been the bone of contention between the ruling CPM and the Trinamool. Mamata Banerjee wanted the money to be handed over to Zilla Parishads or panchayat bodies. She had raised the issue with Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last month.

"I will not like to say anything on the Budget," said Partho Chatterjee, the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly.

Chatterjee also raised doubts as to how details of three new projects announced in the Budget were published in CPM's mouthpiece Ganashakti before the Budget was placed in the Parliament. "I will highlight this matter to my leader (Mamata Banerjee)," added Chatterjee. Ganashakti carried a story on Monday that a new campus of the Aligarh Muslim University will be set up in Murshidabad.

In his Budget speech, Mukherjee also announced a mega handloom cluster for Bengal.

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